US Customs Doubles Down After Seizing Apple AirPod "Fakes," Which Are Just OnePlus Earbuds
In an attempt to prevent fake good from entering the country, the US customs office accidentally confiscated legitimate goods.
In what appeared to be a mistaken attempt to prevent counterfeit good entering the country, the US Customs and Border Protection has accidentally confiscated a large shipment of what it believes to be fake Apple AirPods. Turns out they aren't fake at all.
The shipment, mistaken for knock off Apple AirPods, is in fact a legitimate product from Chinese smartphone and electronics maker OnePlus. The OnePlus Buds were announced earlier this year and retail for $79, which brings the total shipment cost of the 2000 pairs confiscated to $158,000. That's far less than the estimated $398,00 in fakes that the customs officials stated they had discovered.
After the "stash" was shown off on Twitter, OnePlus US had this cheeky reply on hand for their confiscated stock.
THAT'S NOT AN 🍎 —— CBP (@CBP) September 14, 2020
CBP officers at JFK Airport recently seized 2,000 counterfeit Apple AirPods from Hong Kong, valued at $398K had they been genuine.
Details via @CBPNewYorkCity: https://t.co/XMgjkfT56i pic.twitter.com/Ofn9REJ9ZB
Hey, give those back! 🙃— OnePlus USA (@OnePlus_USA) September 14, 2020
Turns out US Customs isn't backing down though, stating that the confiscation was not an error. In a statement to The Verge, the CBP explains that it seized the goods based on their belief that it infringes on Apple's trademark designs for the AirPods. This despite the fact that you can purchase the OnePlus Buds from most retailers if you want today, without any complaints from Apple directly.
"Upon examining the shipment in question, a CBP import specialist determined that the subject earbuds appeared to violate Apple's configuration trademark. Apple has configuration trademarks on their brand of earbuds, and has recorded those trademarks with CBP."
There is no question that the OnePlus Buds bear a resemblance to Apple's own wireless earbuds, from the earpiece design down to the long stem. But OnePlus aren't the only ones that have taken inspiration from the design, with CNET noting that Google and Samsung have done the same before with the Google Buds and Galaxy Buds respectively.
CNET did reach out to the US Customs and Border Protection for a comment on the mishap but have yet to receive a reply.